accretion disk

noun

Definition of accretion disk

: a disk of usually gaseous matter surrounding a massive celestial object (such as a black hole) in which the matter gradually spirals in toward and accretes onto the object as a result of gravitational attraction

Examples of accretion disk in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On a scale of several weeks, strong magnetic fields should stir the accretion disk and produce hotter spots that then orbit the black hole. Davide Castelvecchi, Scientific American, "The First-Ever Image of a Black Hole Is Now a Movie," 23 Sep. 2020 That binary system may have formed in the accretion disk surrounding a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Meet GW190521—a black-hole merger for the record books," 2 Sep. 2020 This could be because different regions of the accretion disk became brighter or dimmer, which could enhance or sometimes even cancel out the Doppler brightening. Davide Castelvecchi, Scientific American, "The First-Ever Image of a Black Hole Is Now a Movie," 23 Sep. 2020 The black hole sucks matter from the giant star, forming a swirling accretion disk that drains into the black hole. Popular Science, "These two celestial bodies share a heartbeat, puzzling scientists," 24 Aug. 2020 Graham thinks there could be more such binary black hole mergers occurring in the accretion disk of a supermassive black hole out there. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Astronomers think this black hole collision may have exploded with light," 25 June 2020 That binary system may have formed in the accretion disk surrounding a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Astronomers think this black hole collision may have exploded with light," 25 June 2020 Black holes feed off of material from the accretion disk, pulling spirals of gas inside that heat up. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Astronomers witness the steadfast beating heart of a black hole," 12 June 2020 This scenario was brilliantly affirmed a year ago when the Event Horizon Telescope was able to see the accretion disk around the M87 black hole, framing a cosmic pothole in space. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "the first image of a black hole," 7 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accretion disk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of accretion disk

1972, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about accretion disk

Time Traveler for accretion disk

Time Traveler

The first known use of accretion disk was in 1972

See more words from the same year

Statistics for accretion disk

Last Updated

22 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Accretion disk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accretion%20disk. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on accretion disk

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about accretion disk

Comments on accretion disk

What made you want to look up accretion disk? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!